Penny Arcade - Comic - A Wall Three Dollars High

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
edited February 17 in The Penny Arcade Hub

imagePenny Arcade - Comic - A Wall Three Dollars High

Videogaming-related online strip by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Includes news and commentary.

Read the full story here


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NightslyrZilla360H3KnucklesAndy Joe

Posts

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Quite a lot of games feeling like this lately. Anthem, Division, Fallout 76 etc.

    What is this I don't even.
  • Steel AngelSteel Angel Registered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Quite a lot of games feeling like this lately. Anthem, Division, Fallout 76 etc.

    Warframe is firmly in the F2P category with a hefty does of cosmetic skins, capes, and the ability to buy things instead of gathering the resources to craft them.

    The Division is closer to Destiny in that the base game costs money and expansions released over time also cost money. Destiny 2 has adapted a model like some MMOs where they don't charge for the base game and older expansions but still require purchases of the most recent expansions and that's a good way to both give people a chance to try the game and not make it cost prohibitive to get enough expansion content to join more established players. This is not quite a step that The Division 2 can do yet due to not having released their first expansion. Time will tell if they can do that going forward. The Division devs have gotten into the habit of releasing a lot of free content additions while making expansion content optional as opposed to Destiny's more traditional approach of requiring payment for new content. I doubt the percentage of players that bought the paid content in Division 1 is anywhere close to those that did the same for Destiny. Mind you the devs spent a lot of time trying to make things right with players after some really rough early months and a lot of the big changes addressed issues with fundamental issues players were having. We'll see if Anthem and Fallout 76 will be able to make the same kind of turnaround The Division 1 did and what The Division 2 will do going forward given it's not trying to fix as many holes on a sinking ship like the first game needed.

    Big Dookie wrote: »
    I found that tilting it doesn't work very well, and once I started jerking it, I got much better results.

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  • PeriSoftPeriSoft Registered User regular
    Any guesses on what part of Tycho this is?
    xqjtp9w1v3ng.png

    Zilla360doompooky
  • dennisdennis Registered User regular
    PeriSoft wrote: »
    Any guesses on what part of Tycho this is?
    xqjtp9w1v3ng.png

    The possibilities are endless.


    Or endful.

    Zilla360doompookyzepherinBobbleH3KnucklesAndy JoeQuid
  • Jgr9Jgr9 Registered User regular
    edited February 17
    My thoughts almost entirely..... HOWEVER..... I grew tired of being paywalled out of story content with Runescape almost almost 20 years ago.

    A big part of me has always been hoping that the "new" F2P style surge would eventually come to where the cosmetics would make ALL of the story content free (at release). But that didn't happen completely very much (Warframe being an exception). I couldn't tell you if it's because just cosmetic sales alone won't pay the bills* or if it's a stability thing, which.... I might argue with? whatever, idk.

    Jgr9 on
  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    The idea that a game can stay solvent purely based on cosmetic sales is a myth.



  • Steel AngelSteel Angel Registered User regular
    Jgr9 wrote: »
    My thoughts almost entirely..... HOWEVER..... I grew tired of being paywalled out of story content with Runescape almost almost 20 years ago.

    A big part of me has always been hoping that the "new" F2P style surge would eventually come to where the cosmetics would make ALL of the story content free (at release). But that didn't happen completely very much (Warframe being an exception). I couldn't tell you if it's because just cosmetic sales alone won't pay the bills* or if it's a stability thing, which.... I might argue with? whatever, idk.

    Worth remembering that Warframe still charges platinum for new slots for frames, weapons, pets, etc. They're on the cheaper side of purchases and it's not hard to cover those costs by trading instead of buying the platinum yourself but at some point money went to DE. And some people will spend platinum or money on a frame to avoid reliance on RNG for drops.

    That said, Warframe is in a unique position. They've had years where there wasn't much in the way of new content released which would really hurt a studio relying on selling expansion content. They've also been around quite a while now without engaging in the more predatory aspects microtransactions can have (they removed the closest thing they've done to lootboxes after deciding it was too successful at getting players to spend money) so a lot of veteran players can easily justify spending money now and then to simulate paying for new content.

    Big Dookie wrote: »
    I found that tilting it doesn't work very well, and once I started jerking it, I got much better results.

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  • GrendusGrendus Registered User regular
    Honestly, I kind of suspect that the $3 charge is to dissuade hackers. It's not a lot of money, but it ensures that new players a) have the ability to buy things and b) aren't going to join groups and spam, or cheat in the dark zone. It's just enough money to give bans teeth without being so much that newbies have to justify the price.

    H3KnucklesCommander Zoom
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Jgr9 wrote: »
    My thoughts almost entirely..... HOWEVER..... I grew tired of being paywalled out of story content with Runescape almost almost 20 years ago.

    A big part of me has always been hoping that the "new" F2P style surge would eventually come to where the cosmetics would make ALL of the story content free (at release). But that didn't happen completely very much (Warframe being an exception). I couldn't tell you if it's because just cosmetic sales alone won't pay the bills* or if it's a stability thing, which.... I might argue with? whatever, idk.

    Worth remembering that Warframe still charges platinum for new slots for frames, weapons, pets, etc. They're on the cheaper side of purchases and it's not hard to cover those costs by trading instead of buying the platinum yourself but at some point money went to DE. And some people will spend platinum or money on a frame to avoid reliance on RNG for drops.

    That said, Warframe is in a unique position. They've had years where there wasn't much in the way of new content released which would really hurt a studio relying on selling expansion content. They've also been around quite a while now without engaging in the more predatory aspects microtransactions can have (they removed the closest thing they've done to lootboxes after deciding it was too successful at getting players to spend money) so a lot of veteran players can easily justify spending money now and then to simulate paying for new content.

    What was the loot box thing they removed? I don't remember that part.

    What is this I don't even.
  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    ironzerg wrote: »
    The idea that a game can stay solvent purely based on cosmetic sales is a myth.

    No, it's not. Solvent is the same as bankrupt in the modern economy, however. The issue at hand is that the major AAA publishers are deep into end stage capitalism. There games that make more in cosmetic sales than in copy sales, but make a solid profit just on their copy sales. Some of those game then have pay to win loot boxes or direct purchases that make more money than both of those combined, and still "perform well below expectations."

    Activision's stock tanked last year right after posting their most profitable year ever, where a majority of their games made twice their cost in each of two to four monetization categories, because the increase in profit was smaller than it was the previous year, and that sparked an investor panic. A profit margin higher than most pharmaceutical companies and they still had investors calling for the whole company to be sold for scrap to Bain Capital or the like.

    painfulPleasanceThawmusMoridin889H3KnucklesAndy JoeQuidCommander Zoom
  • furlionfurlion Riskbreaker Lea MondeRegistered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Jgr9 wrote: »
    My thoughts almost entirely..... HOWEVER..... I grew tired of being paywalled out of story content with Runescape almost almost 20 years ago.

    A big part of me has always been hoping that the "new" F2P style surge would eventually come to where the cosmetics would make ALL of the story content free (at release). But that didn't happen completely very much (Warframe being an exception). I couldn't tell you if it's because just cosmetic sales alone won't pay the bills* or if it's a stability thing, which.... I might argue with? whatever, idk.

    Worth remembering that Warframe still charges platinum for new slots for frames, weapons, pets, etc. They're on the cheaper side of purchases and it's not hard to cover those costs by trading instead of buying the platinum yourself but at some point money went to DE. And some people will spend platinum or money on a frame to avoid reliance on RNG for drops.

    That said, Warframe is in a unique position. They've had years where there wasn't much in the way of new content released which would really hurt a studio relying on selling expansion content. They've also been around quite a while now without engaging in the more predatory aspects microtransactions can have (they removed the closest thing they've done to lootboxes after deciding it was too successful at getting players to spend money) so a lot of veteran players can easily justify spending money now and then to simulate paying for new content.

    What was the loot box thing they removed? I don't remember that part.

    I believe they are talking about the ability to pay platinum to change your kubrow's fur color pattern. Initially there was a box you could hit to pay platinum to change it. One guy hit it 200 times in an hour so they removed that option feeling it was too predatory. This is all according to de so a bit of salt may need to be taken with it

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  • Anon von ZilchAnon von Zilch Registered User regular
    PeriSoft wrote: »
    Any guesses on what part of Tycho this is?
    xqjtp9w1v3ng.png

    It would probably be censored if it was either of his pee-pees, so I'm guessing butt.

    KoopahTroopahZilla360YoungFreyzepherinH3KnucklesAndy Joe
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Hevach wrote: »
    ironzerg wrote: »
    The idea that a game can stay solvent purely based on cosmetic sales is a myth.

    No, it's not. Solvent is the same as bankrupt in the modern economy, however. The issue at hand is that the major AAA publishers are deep into end stage capitalism. There games that make more in cosmetic sales than in copy sales, but make a solid profit just on their copy sales. Some of those game then have pay to win loot boxes or direct purchases that make more money than both of those combined, and still "perform well below expectations."

    Activision's stock tanked last year right after posting their most profitable year ever, where a majority of their games made twice their cost in each of two to four monetization categories, because the increase in profit was smaller than it was the previous year, and that sparked an investor panic. A profit margin higher than most pharmaceutical companies and they still had investors calling for the whole company to be sold for scrap to Bain Capital or the like.

    In most industries, those kinds profit margins on large-scale commerce would be taken as a strong indication of monopoly, cartel or other illegality.

    Zilla360
  • Steel AngelSteel Angel Registered User regular
    V1m wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    ironzerg wrote: »
    The idea that a game can stay solvent purely based on cosmetic sales is a myth.

    No, it's not. Solvent is the same as bankrupt in the modern economy, however. The issue at hand is that the major AAA publishers are deep into end stage capitalism. There games that make more in cosmetic sales than in copy sales, but make a solid profit just on their copy sales. Some of those game then have pay to win loot boxes or direct purchases that make more money than both of those combined, and still "perform well below expectations."

    Activision's stock tanked last year right after posting their most profitable year ever, where a majority of their games made twice their cost in each of two to four monetization categories, because the increase in profit was smaller than it was the previous year, and that sparked an investor panic. A profit margin higher than most pharmaceutical companies and they still had investors calling for the whole company to be sold for scrap to Bain Capital or the like.

    In most industries, those kinds profit margins on large-scale commerce would be taken as a strong indication of monopoly, cartel or other illegality.

    Video games are an increasingly weird industry. There's the shear amount of money involved of course but digital content means a flat manufacturing cost that lets them produce copies for free. That upends so many things about economics.

    Big Dookie wrote: »
    I found that tilting it doesn't work very well, and once I started jerking it, I got much better results.

    Steam Profile
    3DS: 3454-0268-5595 Battle.net: SteelAngel#1772
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  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    V1m wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    ironzerg wrote: »
    The idea that a game can stay solvent purely based on cosmetic sales is a myth.

    No, it's not. Solvent is the same as bankrupt in the modern economy, however. The issue at hand is that the major AAA publishers are deep into end stage capitalism. There games that make more in cosmetic sales than in copy sales, but make a solid profit just on their copy sales. Some of those game then have pay to win loot boxes or direct purchases that make more money than both of those combined, and still "perform well below expectations."

    Activision's stock tanked last year right after posting their most profitable year ever, where a majority of their games made twice their cost in each of two to four monetization categories, because the increase in profit was smaller than it was the previous year, and that sparked an investor panic. A profit margin higher than most pharmaceutical companies and they still had investors calling for the whole company to be sold for scrap to Bain Capital or the like.

    In most industries, those kinds profit margins on large-scale commerce would be taken as a strong indication of monopoly, cartel or other illegality.

    Video games are an increasingly weird industry. There's the shear amount of money involved of course but digital content means a flat manufacturing cost that lets them produce copies for free. That upends so many things about economics.

    It's one of only a few industries (guns being the other big one) that preys on its enthusiast consumers to also provide cheap labor. Because of all the gamers who want to make games and all the game design schools out there there's way more game developers than the industry needs, combined with a mix of cyclical layoffs or publisher forced cyclical burnout to keep seniority from piling up and you've got a high skill workforce working well below fair pay and almost gig economy job security.

    zepherinZilla360Aldo
  • NamrokNamrok Registered User regular
    Hevach wrote: »
    V1m wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    ironzerg wrote: »
    The idea that a game can stay solvent purely based on cosmetic sales is a myth.

    No, it's not. Solvent is the same as bankrupt in the modern economy, however. The issue at hand is that the major AAA publishers are deep into end stage capitalism. There games that make more in cosmetic sales than in copy sales, but make a solid profit just on their copy sales. Some of those game then have pay to win loot boxes or direct purchases that make more money than both of those combined, and still "perform well below expectations."

    Activision's stock tanked last year right after posting their most profitable year ever, where a majority of their games made twice their cost in each of two to four monetization categories, because the increase in profit was smaller than it was the previous year, and that sparked an investor panic. A profit margin higher than most pharmaceutical companies and they still had investors calling for the whole company to be sold for scrap to Bain Capital or the like.

    In most industries, those kinds profit margins on large-scale commerce would be taken as a strong indication of monopoly, cartel or other illegality.

    Video games are an increasingly weird industry. There's the shear amount of money involved of course but digital content means a flat manufacturing cost that lets them produce copies for free. That upends so many things about economics.

    It's one of only a few industries (guns being the other big one) that preys on its enthusiast consumers to also provide cheap labor. Because of all the gamers who want to make games and all the game design schools out there there's way more game developers than the industry needs, combined with a mix of cyclical layoffs or publisher forced cyclical burnout to keep seniority from piling up and you've got a high skill workforce working well below fair pay and almost gig economy job security.

    Could be worse. Could be open source, where you don't get paid at all to contribute to software pivotal to a functional internet.

    I mean, how do you even define "fair pay" when there are hoards of people willing to replace you? Is "fair" defined by the labor market? Or what you'd like to earn doing what you wanted to do anyways? If you think you aren't being compensated fairly for your labor, why don't you just make your own game and see what your labor is really worth? So glad that's a more viable option now.

    Careers associated with a "passion" often come at a salary reduction. Although companies that dabble in a "passionate" work force often get what they deserve. Because it's often hard to separate the "All I think about is being the best game developer I can possibly be" passion from the more childlike "VIDEO GAMES ARE COOL AND I WANT VIDEO GAME JORB" passion.

    I still suspect when my wife worked at Mom's Organic Market they were short shrifting their employees because so many of them were passionate about organic foods. Even for grocery, the hours, pay and benefits were horrible. And they ended up with all these true believers who did wacky shit like refuse to tell customers where the organic honey they carry was, because they thought it was unethical to something something something the bee's labor.

    Steel AngelZilla360SmrtnikpainfulPleasanceCommander Zoom
  • Steel AngelSteel Angel Registered User regular
    Namrok wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    V1m wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    ironzerg wrote: »
    The idea that a game can stay solvent purely based on cosmetic sales is a myth.

    No, it's not. Solvent is the same as bankrupt in the modern economy, however. The issue at hand is that the major AAA publishers are deep into end stage capitalism. There games that make more in cosmetic sales than in copy sales, but make a solid profit just on their copy sales. Some of those game then have pay to win loot boxes or direct purchases that make more money than both of those combined, and still "perform well below expectations."

    Activision's stock tanked last year right after posting their most profitable year ever, where a majority of their games made twice their cost in each of two to four monetization categories, because the increase in profit was smaller than it was the previous year, and that sparked an investor panic. A profit margin higher than most pharmaceutical companies and they still had investors calling for the whole company to be sold for scrap to Bain Capital or the like.

    In most industries, those kinds profit margins on large-scale commerce would be taken as a strong indication of monopoly, cartel or other illegality.

    Video games are an increasingly weird industry. There's the shear amount of money involved of course but digital content means a flat manufacturing cost that lets them produce copies for free. That upends so many things about economics.

    It's one of only a few industries (guns being the other big one) that preys on its enthusiast consumers to also provide cheap labor. Because of all the gamers who want to make games and all the game design schools out there there's way more game developers than the industry needs, combined with a mix of cyclical layoffs or publisher forced cyclical burnout to keep seniority from piling up and you've got a high skill workforce working well below fair pay and almost gig economy job security.

    Could be worse. Could be open source, where you don't get paid at all to contribute to software pivotal to a functional internet.

    I mean, how do you even define "fair pay" when there are hoards of people willing to replace you? Is "fair" defined by the labor market? Or what you'd like to earn doing what you wanted to do anyways? If you think you aren't being compensated fairly for your labor, why don't you just make your own game and see what your labor is really worth? So glad that's a more viable option now.

    Careers associated with a "passion" often come at a salary reduction. Although companies that dabble in a "passionate" work force often get what they deserve. Because it's often hard to separate the "All I think about is being the best game developer I can possibly be" passion from the more childlike "VIDEO GAMES ARE COOL AND I WANT VIDEO GAME JORB" passion.

    I still suspect when my wife worked at Mom's Organic Market they were short shrifting their employees because so many of them were passionate about organic foods. Even for grocery, the hours, pay and benefits were horrible. And they ended up with all these true believers who did wacky shit like refuse to tell customers where the organic honey they carry was, because they thought it was unethical to something something something the bee's labor.

    I recall a discussion I had with some comp sci classmates back in the early 2000s and someone stated "Every guy who declared this as their major did so with a hope of working in the games industry." I'm guessing that's diminished a bit due to other fields in tech now also building cool stuff but it's still going to be a big influencer on a lot of teenagers when they start thinking about future careers.

    Software engineers are still in very short supply compared to demand for them so that puts a floor on how much they can be put through the wringer benefits wise (the salary compared to outside the games industry is definitely lower on average but still firmly in the upper middle class) but I doubt the same applies to the scores of artists and obviously not the testers.

    Big Dookie wrote: »
    I found that tilting it doesn't work very well, and once I started jerking it, I got much better results.

    Steam Profile
    3DS: 3454-0268-5595 Battle.net: SteelAngel#1772
  • NamrokNamrok Registered User regular
    Namrok wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    V1m wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    ironzerg wrote: »
    The idea that a game can stay solvent purely based on cosmetic sales is a myth.

    No, it's not. Solvent is the same as bankrupt in the modern economy, however. The issue at hand is that the major AAA publishers are deep into end stage capitalism. There games that make more in cosmetic sales than in copy sales, but make a solid profit just on their copy sales. Some of those game then have pay to win loot boxes or direct purchases that make more money than both of those combined, and still "perform well below expectations."

    Activision's stock tanked last year right after posting their most profitable year ever, where a majority of their games made twice their cost in each of two to four monetization categories, because the increase in profit was smaller than it was the previous year, and that sparked an investor panic. A profit margin higher than most pharmaceutical companies and they still had investors calling for the whole company to be sold for scrap to Bain Capital or the like.

    In most industries, those kinds profit margins on large-scale commerce would be taken as a strong indication of monopoly, cartel or other illegality.

    Video games are an increasingly weird industry. There's the shear amount of money involved of course but digital content means a flat manufacturing cost that lets them produce copies for free. That upends so many things about economics.

    It's one of only a few industries (guns being the other big one) that preys on its enthusiast consumers to also provide cheap labor. Because of all the gamers who want to make games and all the game design schools out there there's way more game developers than the industry needs, combined with a mix of cyclical layoffs or publisher forced cyclical burnout to keep seniority from piling up and you've got a high skill workforce working well below fair pay and almost gig economy job security.

    Could be worse. Could be open source, where you don't get paid at all to contribute to software pivotal to a functional internet.

    I mean, how do you even define "fair pay" when there are hoards of people willing to replace you? Is "fair" defined by the labor market? Or what you'd like to earn doing what you wanted to do anyways? If you think you aren't being compensated fairly for your labor, why don't you just make your own game and see what your labor is really worth? So glad that's a more viable option now.

    Careers associated with a "passion" often come at a salary reduction. Although companies that dabble in a "passionate" work force often get what they deserve. Because it's often hard to separate the "All I think about is being the best game developer I can possibly be" passion from the more childlike "VIDEO GAMES ARE COOL AND I WANT VIDEO GAME JORB" passion.

    I still suspect when my wife worked at Mom's Organic Market they were short shrifting their employees because so many of them were passionate about organic foods. Even for grocery, the hours, pay and benefits were horrible. And they ended up with all these true believers who did wacky shit like refuse to tell customers where the organic honey they carry was, because they thought it was unethical to something something something the bee's labor.

    I recall a discussion I had with some comp sci classmates back in the early 2000s and someone stated "Every guy who declared this as their major did so with a hope of working in the games industry." I'm guessing that's diminished a bit due to other fields in tech now also building cool stuff but it's still going to be a big influencer on a lot of teenagers when they start thinking about future careers.

    Software engineers are still in very short supply compared to demand for them so that puts a floor on how much they can be put through the wringer benefits wise (the salary compared to outside the games industry is definitely lower on average but still firmly in the upper middle class) but I doubt the same applies to the scores of artists and obviously not the testers.

    I'd also argue there is severe dysfunction in how software engineers are being trained, trying to goose supply, but at the cost of institutional competency.

    Almost from the dawn of professional programming, the reliance on sometimes uniquely skilled individuals has been viewed as a liability. And every effort has been made to somehow systematize the whole process, and turn it into some sort of turn key, workmanlike endeavour with a more fungible talent pool, where the talent doesn't dare get too many ideas about their value.

    I think this preference for a fungible tech talent pool at risk averse AAA studios is showing more and more as they just release technical shit show after technical shit show.

  • Steel AngelSteel Angel Registered User regular
    edited February 19
    Namrok wrote: »
    Namrok wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    V1m wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    ironzerg wrote: »
    The idea that a game can stay solvent purely based on cosmetic sales is a myth.

    No, it's not. Solvent is the same as bankrupt in the modern economy, however. The issue at hand is that the major AAA publishers are deep into end stage capitalism. There games that make more in cosmetic sales than in copy sales, but make a solid profit just on their copy sales. Some of those game then have pay to win loot boxes or direct purchases that make more money than both of those combined, and still "perform well below expectations."

    Activision's stock tanked last year right after posting their most profitable year ever, where a majority of their games made twice their cost in each of two to four monetization categories, because the increase in profit was smaller than it was the previous year, and that sparked an investor panic. A profit margin higher than most pharmaceutical companies and they still had investors calling for the whole company to be sold for scrap to Bain Capital or the like.

    In most industries, those kinds profit margins on large-scale commerce would be taken as a strong indication of monopoly, cartel or other illegality.

    Video games are an increasingly weird industry. There's the shear amount of money involved of course but digital content means a flat manufacturing cost that lets them produce copies for free. That upends so many things about economics.

    It's one of only a few industries (guns being the other big one) that preys on its enthusiast consumers to also provide cheap labor. Because of all the gamers who want to make games and all the game design schools out there there's way more game developers than the industry needs, combined with a mix of cyclical layoffs or publisher forced cyclical burnout to keep seniority from piling up and you've got a high skill workforce working well below fair pay and almost gig economy job security.

    Could be worse. Could be open source, where you don't get paid at all to contribute to software pivotal to a functional internet.

    I mean, how do you even define "fair pay" when there are hoards of people willing to replace you? Is "fair" defined by the labor market? Or what you'd like to earn doing what you wanted to do anyways? If you think you aren't being compensated fairly for your labor, why don't you just make your own game and see what your labor is really worth? So glad that's a more viable option now.

    Careers associated with a "passion" often come at a salary reduction. Although companies that dabble in a "passionate" work force often get what they deserve. Because it's often hard to separate the "All I think about is being the best game developer I can possibly be" passion from the more childlike "VIDEO GAMES ARE COOL AND I WANT VIDEO GAME JORB" passion.

    I still suspect when my wife worked at Mom's Organic Market they were short shrifting their employees because so many of them were passionate about organic foods. Even for grocery, the hours, pay and benefits were horrible. And they ended up with all these true believers who did wacky shit like refuse to tell customers where the organic honey they carry was, because they thought it was unethical to something something something the bee's labor.

    I recall a discussion I had with some comp sci classmates back in the early 2000s and someone stated "Every guy who declared this as their major did so with a hope of working in the games industry." I'm guessing that's diminished a bit due to other fields in tech now also building cool stuff but it's still going to be a big influencer on a lot of teenagers when they start thinking about future careers.

    Software engineers are still in very short supply compared to demand for them so that puts a floor on how much they can be put through the wringer benefits wise (the salary compared to outside the games industry is definitely lower on average but still firmly in the upper middle class) but I doubt the same applies to the scores of artists and obviously not the testers.

    I'd also argue there is severe dysfunction in how software engineers are being trained, trying to goose supply, but at the cost of institutional competency.

    Almost from the dawn of professional programming, the reliance on sometimes uniquely skilled individuals has been viewed as a liability. And every effort has been made to somehow systematize the whole process, and turn it into some sort of turn key, workmanlike endeavour with a more fungible talent pool, where the talent doesn't dare get too many ideas about their value.

    I think this preference for a fungible tech talent pool at risk averse AAA studios is showing more and more as they just release technical shit show after technical shit show.

    The making of a software engineer is bizarre compared to so many other fields. Every other comp sci major I talked to had dabbled in some form of programming or web design as a hobby as a teenager. You could not succeed in the first courses required for the major without already being able to think in way used to break down problems into linear sequences. We had some introduction to programming courses at our university but they were so far below the level of the first major requirements that even non-comp sci friends got bored and switched out of them to fulfill their tech requirements and there wasn't anything between that and the real comp sci courses. I saw a lot of friends that were much better students than I was flounder in those.

    I can't think of many other majors where you had to already have been doing that major before you enrolled to make it through. Prospective biology majors (hopefully) aren't dissecting things to kill a lazy afternoon. Now that high schools around here universally require their students to take some programming classes to graduate it's at least more exposure so kids from families that can't afford to have a computer for their kid to mess around on without melting down the family computer have more of a shot if they pursue the major. I can see plenty of reasons to want to make the pipeline less narrow but I'm not confident it's really succeeding. Requiring students to take a class in high school doesn't mean they're going to learn how to think in the necessary way and after college I tutored a good number of high schoolers who I consider smarter and more studious than I was at their age (most of my tutoring was for SAT stuff, math classes, and other school subjects so I saw firsthand what these kids could handle) slam their heads against Java homework.

    Steel Angel on
    Big Dookie wrote: »
    I found that tilting it doesn't work very well, and once I started jerking it, I got much better results.

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  • NamrokNamrok Registered User regular
    Namrok wrote: »
    Namrok wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    V1m wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    ironzerg wrote: »
    The idea that a game can stay solvent purely based on cosmetic sales is a myth.

    No, it's not. Solvent is the same as bankrupt in the modern economy, however. The issue at hand is that the major AAA publishers are deep into end stage capitalism. There games that make more in cosmetic sales than in copy sales, but make a solid profit just on their copy sales. Some of those game then have pay to win loot boxes or direct purchases that make more money than both of those combined, and still "perform well below expectations."

    Activision's stock tanked last year right after posting their most profitable year ever, where a majority of their games made twice their cost in each of two to four monetization categories, because the increase in profit was smaller than it was the previous year, and that sparked an investor panic. A profit margin higher than most pharmaceutical companies and they still had investors calling for the whole company to be sold for scrap to Bain Capital or the like.

    In most industries, those kinds profit margins on large-scale commerce would be taken as a strong indication of monopoly, cartel or other illegality.

    Video games are an increasingly weird industry. There's the shear amount of money involved of course but digital content means a flat manufacturing cost that lets them produce copies for free. That upends so many things about economics.

    It's one of only a few industries (guns being the other big one) that preys on its enthusiast consumers to also provide cheap labor. Because of all the gamers who want to make games and all the game design schools out there there's way more game developers than the industry needs, combined with a mix of cyclical layoffs or publisher forced cyclical burnout to keep seniority from piling up and you've got a high skill workforce working well below fair pay and almost gig economy job security.

    Could be worse. Could be open source, where you don't get paid at all to contribute to software pivotal to a functional internet.

    I mean, how do you even define "fair pay" when there are hoards of people willing to replace you? Is "fair" defined by the labor market? Or what you'd like to earn doing what you wanted to do anyways? If you think you aren't being compensated fairly for your labor, why don't you just make your own game and see what your labor is really worth? So glad that's a more viable option now.

    Careers associated with a "passion" often come at a salary reduction. Although companies that dabble in a "passionate" work force often get what they deserve. Because it's often hard to separate the "All I think about is being the best game developer I can possibly be" passion from the more childlike "VIDEO GAMES ARE COOL AND I WANT VIDEO GAME JORB" passion.

    I still suspect when my wife worked at Mom's Organic Market they were short shrifting their employees because so many of them were passionate about organic foods. Even for grocery, the hours, pay and benefits were horrible. And they ended up with all these true believers who did wacky shit like refuse to tell customers where the organic honey they carry was, because they thought it was unethical to something something something the bee's labor.

    I recall a discussion I had with some comp sci classmates back in the early 2000s and someone stated "Every guy who declared this as their major did so with a hope of working in the games industry." I'm guessing that's diminished a bit due to other fields in tech now also building cool stuff but it's still going to be a big influencer on a lot of teenagers when they start thinking about future careers.

    Software engineers are still in very short supply compared to demand for them so that puts a floor on how much they can be put through the wringer benefits wise (the salary compared to outside the games industry is definitely lower on average but still firmly in the upper middle class) but I doubt the same applies to the scores of artists and obviously not the testers.

    I'd also argue there is severe dysfunction in how software engineers are being trained, trying to goose supply, but at the cost of institutional competency.

    Almost from the dawn of professional programming, the reliance on sometimes uniquely skilled individuals has been viewed as a liability. And every effort has been made to somehow systematize the whole process, and turn it into some sort of turn key, workmanlike endeavour with a more fungible talent pool, where the talent doesn't dare get too many ideas about their value.

    I think this preference for a fungible tech talent pool at risk averse AAA studios is showing more and more as they just release technical shit show after technical shit show.

    The making of a software engineer is bizarre compared to so many other fields. Every other comp sci major I talked to had dabbled in some form of programming or web design as a hobby as a teenager. You could not succeed in the first courses required for the major without already being able to think in way used to break down problems into linear sequences. We had some introduction to programming courses at our university but they were so far below the level of the first major requirements that even non-comp sci friends got bored and switched out of them to fulfill their tech requirements and there wasn't anything between that and the real comp sci courses. I saw a lot of friends that were much better students than I was flounder in those.

    I can't think of many other majors where you had to already have been doing that major before you enrolled to make it through. Prospective biology majors (hopefully) aren't dissecting things to kill a lazy afternoon. Now that high schools around here universally require their students to take some programming classes to graduate it's at least more exposure so kids from families that can't afford to have a computer for their kid to mess around on without melting down the family computer have more of a shot if they pursue the major. I can see plenty of reasons to want to make the pipeline less narrow but I'm not confident it's really succeeding. Requiring students to take a class in high school doesn't mean they're going to learn how to think in the necessary way and after college I tutored a good number of high schoolers who I consider smarter and more studious than I was at their age (most of my tutoring was for SAT stuff, math classes, and other school subjects so I saw firsthand what these kids could handle) slam their heads against Java homework.

    Yeah, it's a bit schizophrenic like that. Even back when I was in college, if I hadn't taken every programming course I could in HS, I probably would have been SOL. And even then, the professors had a very "Learn it or not, I don't care" attitude. One I specifically recall talking down to and berating his students for not already knowing the things we were in the class to learn.

    Just generally there were a lot of bitter, petty tyrants in the Computer Science department.

    But also there was this obsession with taking the art out of computer science. Making everything into a design pattern. Having everything use enterprise level off the shelf solutions. Taking the thought out of it by having you memorize certain solutions to certain problem sets.

    The problems with this approach manifest immediately when you encounter anything that was off shored to Indian programming teams who's education appears to exclusively consist of these memorized, turn key approaches to "programming". I haven't encountered a coworker or colleague yet who hasn't been thrown into paroxysms of frustration by the work turned in by their offshored counterparts. Everything looks like a nail to them, because all they have is a hammer.

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  • MarcinMNMarcinMN Registered User regular
    I went back to school for Computer Science when I was almost 40 years old. There were almost no computer classes at all in my high school growing up in the early 90s. There were definitely no classes in computer programming languages. I had no problem catching on to the basics of computer programming in my college classes. I finished an Associates degree with a 4.0 gpa and now I'm working on a Bachelors (which I probably should have just done from the beginning). I will admit to a couple of things. First, that these are community college classes, so I'm sure they aren't as challenging as what I would have had at private institutions. Second, I don't currently have a job that is using these skills, so I can't say for sure that I've learned what I need to succeed at a career. Still, I think what I've done so far is enough to show that you don't "have to have studied this stuff before you start school." I certainly don't feel that I'm a computer genius and I was able to pick up on it. Starting with the Associates might actually help me in the end because I think it made me dip my toes in more programming languages than I would have if I went straight to the Bachelors. :)

    On the plus side, community college is cheap compared to my original college run at a 4-year private school (1993-1998), my work is paying for most of it, and even if I don't end up with a major career change from all of this it was still fun to learn and served as a nice diversion in my life.

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  • NamrokNamrok Registered User regular
    MarcinMN wrote: »
    I went back to school for Computer Science when I was almost 40 years old. There were almost no computer classes at all in my high school growing up in the early 90s. There were definitely no classes in computer programming languages. I had no problem catching on to the basics of computer programming in my college classes. I finished an Associates degree with a 4.0 gpa and now I'm working on a Bachelors (which I probably should have just done from the beginning). I will admit to a couple of things. First, that these are community college classes, so I'm sure they aren't as challenging as what I would have had at private institutions. Second, I don't currently have a job that is using these skills, so I can't say for sure that I've learned what I need to succeed at a career. Still, I think what I've done so far is enough to show that you don't "have to have studied this stuff before you start school." I certainly don't feel that I'm a computer genius and I was able to pick up on it. Starting with the Associates might actually help me in the end because I think it made me dip my toes in more programming languages than I would have if I went straight to the Bachelors. :)

    On the plus side, community college is cheap compared to my original college run at a 4-year private school (1993-1998), my work is paying for most of it, and even if I don't end up with a major career change from all of this it was still fun to learn and served as a nice diversion in my life.

    I keep thinking about this, because it's not uncommon to hear this. And it's a source of much debate. Because it definitely seems that there are people who take to programming like a fish to water, and those that don't. And some people want to lay this at the feet of the instructors, and others at the feet of the students.

    I sometimes think about all the basic knowledge that gets taken for granted in a Programming 101 class. Things like, knowing how to use a computer, and navigate windows. How to type. How to install the IDE or compiler in the first place. How to use a text editor. Likely basic system configuration stuff like how to edit the PATH, or set a JAVA_HOME directory. Some people seem to naturally build up a knowledge base for this stuff, and other people just get frustrated with it and want someone else to deal with it every time it's encountered.

    And that's before you even get to the programming part, which requires some familiarity with binary logic and algebra at a bare minimum. Algebra being a common stumbling block on many people's math education. My wife straight up never learned or forgot all the algebra she was ever exposed to.

    So ultimately it can be like showing up to a creative writing class, except you can't read, write or speak the language, don't know how pencils work, and have never actually been exposed to a story of any sort. At least for a certain set of people who for whatever reason, suddenly decide they want to learn to program. I certainly recall a few people like this in my intro classes who didn't make it very far. Because basic computer literacy was assumed, and they lacked it horribly.

    Zilla360
  • H3KnucklesH3Knuckles Jack of all interests... ...master of noneRegistered User regular
    edited February 20
    Namrok wrote: »
    I sometimes think about all the basic knowledge that gets taken for granted in a Programming 101 class. Things like, knowing how to use a computer, and navigate windows. How to type. How to install the IDE or compiler in the first place. How to use a text editor. Likely basic system configuration stuff like how to edit the PATH, or set a JAVA_HOME directory. Some people seem to naturally build up a knowledge base for this stuff, and other people just get frustrated with it and want someone else to deal with it every time it's encountered.

    I took several semesters of programming courses and couldn't tell you what the bolded part entails. Granted it's been about 12 years since I was doing anything like that, so maybe I've just forgotten.

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  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Panem, circenses, credulous descent. A Gadarene charge into endarkenment Registered User regular
    edited February 20
    ironzerg wrote: »
    The idea that a game can stay solvent purely based on cosmetic sales is a myth.

    pathofexile.com

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  • Steel AngelSteel Angel Registered User regular
    H3Knuckles wrote: »
    Namrok wrote: »
    I sometimes think about all the basic knowledge that gets taken for granted in a Programming 101 class. Things like, knowing how to use a computer, and navigate windows. How to type. How to install the IDE or compiler in the first place. How to use a text editor. Likely basic system configuration stuff like how to edit the PATH, or set a JAVA_HOME directory. Some people seem to naturally build up a knowledge base for this stuff, and other people just get frustrated with it and want someone else to deal with it every time it's encountered.

    I took several semesters of programming courses and couldn't tell you what the bolded part entails. Granted it's been about 12 years since I was doing anything like that, so maybe I've just forgotten.

    It's something that may or may not be needed depending on how a programming environment is set up. If one logs onto a Linux server to write and compile code, chances are good all the necessary settings are already there. If one installs a compiler/interpreter on their own machine, then this kind of stuff is needed. In practice once you know you need to set this it's not terribly different from changing a default download location or Steam's install directory. Understanding what you're trying to set a file path to is not always as simple.

    Big Dookie wrote: »
    I found that tilting it doesn't work very well, and once I started jerking it, I got much better results.

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  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    Also depends on the IDE and language. If I wanted to build a C# WPF application, O could just install visual studio, start a new project, select that from the list and it pulls in and sets the necessary stuff.

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  • NamrokNamrok Registered User regular
    I'm always on the fence about what a best first language to learn might be. I keep wanting to say just regular old C, but it has significant overhead getting the environment and the projects set up which other languages don't. To say nothing of the rabbit holes of linking issues you can run into.

    But as a first language, it has all the concepts programmers should really be familiar with. Especially with respect to memory. Because even though modern virtual machine environments like .net and java have a garbage collector that manages memory for you, if you just treat memory like something you don't have to worry about anymore, you can wind up with some serious nightmare scenarios where you've caused the garbage collector to churn constantly, causing your program to hitch and sputter. Which was actually a common problem with Unity games, that did a lot to give the Unity engine a bad name once upon a time. People used to blame the engine, when it was really just the amateur game devs who never learned about memory because the virtual machine does it for them.

  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    I would probably generally start with something friendlier like Python for that initial bit of teaching logic and flow control so you don't have all that overhead and can get directly into the good feels of making a thing that actually does stuff.

    Then for the later courses get into all that lower level stuff.

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  • NamrokNamrok Registered User regular
    I donno man. The last time I dabbled in Python it was incredibly frustrating. It didn't seem to care at all about typos, making it incredibly frustrating to figure out where my bugs were. It would just run and do... something! Despite my variable named and punctuation being completely FUBARed. For first timers I prefer a language that at least attempts to pro-actively stop you from being too stupid.

    Maybe Python has changed since then. This was circa 2005 or so.

    Smrtnik
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    Let's just split the difference and have everybody learn programming from a Zachtronics game.

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  • dennisdennis Registered User regular
    For my 8 y.o. son, I chose Scratch. It's a "snap together code constructs" type of thing.

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    I chose it because it meant he didn't have to worry about any typos in the actual phrasing of the code and could concentrate on the logic and concepts. It's definitely aimed at a young audience, and once you get it down you'll probably want to move rapidly to something else.

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  • DaimarDaimar A Million Feet Tall of Awesome Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    For my 8 y.o. son, I chose Scratch. It's a "snap together code constructs" type of thing.

    /snip

    I chose it because it meant he didn't have to worry about any typos in the actual phrasing of the code and could concentrate on the logic and concepts. It's definitely aimed at a young audience, and once you get it down you'll probably want to move rapidly to something else.

    If he likes that it looks exactly like the coding in a couple of games by the Tomorrow Corporation, the first is called the Human Resource Machine and the second is 7 Billion Humans.

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  • shadowysea07shadowysea07 Registered User regular
    Reading all the comments about computer stuff is like looking into a foreign language. Granted I only know the bare minimum of how to use a computer since they were not commonplace when I was growing up. I think the only stuff they taught when I was in school was spread sheets, tables, typing programs (where to put set your fingers on the keyboard) and stuff like that.

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